Top critical review
14 people found this helpful
on 28 February 2009
Three women, working at the same London company in the 1960's. One the 40 year old tea lady with a past; one a malevolent 30 year old typist; and one the innocent 16 year old filing clerk. Downstairs in the basement of the building is a printers where a young lad works who has a unique and ultimately disquieting, not to say tragic, relationship with each of the three; revelations about which gradually unfold as the novel switches back and forth between 1963 and 1983.
Some of the denouement I saw coming a long way off; but a few of the developments are startling although perhaps overly co-incidental.
There are wonderful flashes of originality and very nice period detail and build up of suspense; but although I read the book in four days I had to write down the names and history of several of the characters to refer to as I easily confused them. The last few chapters unfortunately seemed forced, flat and hurried; and several unanswered questions still hang in my mind, which are impossible to reveal without giving the plot away.
The book is definitely worth buying for the nostalgia evocation of the smog and cold of 1963, inky carbon paper in the typing pool, stilletos, Woodbine smoke on the top deck of the bus, Elvis, beatniks and ban the bomb. All the clues to unlock the mysteries and secrets from the past are there in the pages - but read carefully or you will miss them.
Roberta Taylor was an actress in both Eastenders and The Bill . Born in London in 1948, she has previously published a memoir, Too Many Mothers.